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PARLIAMENTARY QUESTIONS

09 Nov 10. Defence White Paper: Return of Annual Publication? Following delivery of the keynote address at The Spectator conference on The Future of Defence Procurement (9 Nov 10), the Defence Secretary said the he would like to “go back” to an annual Statement.
Comment: The MoD’s annual White Paper (policy document) entitled the ‘Statement on the Defence Estimates’ (SDE) ceased publication in 1997 with the advent of New Labour. In 1999 the then Defence Secretary described the SDE format as “rather dense”. Thereafter White Papers were only produced when justified by a significant change in policy. Never a tome of eloquent prose, the annual Statement did at least enable Parliament to monitor developments in policy thinking in the wider context of Defence activity and resources. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 09/44, 15 Nov 10)

House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for 12 Nov 2010

Afghanistan: Peacekeeping Operations

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will discuss with his German counterpart the provision by Germany of field hospital (a) equipment and (b) medical technicians for the NATO mission in Afghanistan.

Dr Fox: Germany is a key ally in NATO and Europe, and I regularly discuss
Defence issues with the German Defence Minister. We last met, in London, on 28 June 2010, where we discussed a range of Defence issues including Afghanistan. Medical support in Afghanistan is, however, controlled and co-ordinated through
the international security assistance force (ISAF) headquarters.Coalition assets already work closely together with great success, with the requirement for medical support based on the operational need. ISAF has developed protocols to ensure all coalition personnel are supported in the most appropriate manner.

Atomic Weapons Establishment

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the terms of reference are of the Atomic Weapons Establishment’s Nuclear Weapon Policy
Development Group; when the group was first established; how often it has met; and on what date it last met. [21968]

Peter Luff: The Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) does not have a body named the Nuclear Weapon Policy Development Group; there is, however, a Nuclear Weapons Policy Discussion Programme (NWPDP). The aim of the NWPDP is to provide a forum for discussion for nominated AWE employees to develop their competencies and understanding of nuclear weapons policy and the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. Established in April 2006, it has met approximately 50 times, most recently on 26 October 2010. The NWPDP does not formulate nuclear weapons policy.

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the reasons were for the increase in estimated costs of Project Hydrus at the Atomic Weapons Establishment; and how much the estimated cost increase was. [21974]

Peter Luff: I am withholding information relating to the costs of Project Hydrus as its disclosure would prejudice commercial interests.

Defence: Expenditure

Mr Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether part of the Government’s contribution to the NATO defence spending target of 2 per cent. of gross domestic product will be drawn from his Department’s counter-terrorism budget. [23684]

Nick Harvey: The majority of the Ministry of Defence’s counter-terrorism activities are provided in support of other Government Departments, for which it is reimbursed. No part of this funding from other Departments was included in the estimate that future defence spending will meet the NATO target. The MOD counter-terrorism activities funded from its core budget form part of the NATO definition of Defence spending.

Joint Strike Fighter Aircraft

Mr Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 4 November 2010, Official Report, column 953W, on the joint strike fighter aircraft, what views his US counterpart expressed on the decision not to purchase

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